For Historic Trenton’s Day in the Life, we’re looking back through newspapers from the beginning and examining everyday problems, solutions, and needs during historic Trenton’s past. Today, we return to Saturday, April 14, 1917. Congress was looking to introduce the Daylight Savings act of 1917, and Europe was engulfed in the first world war.
In the city of Trenton, the industrial side was on full display on the morning of Saturday, April 14, 1917. The American Bridge Company launched the sixth-largest barge of the year at 10:12 a.m. on the dot. A barge is a flat-bottomed boat for carrying freights. They are typically used on canals and rivers like the Delaware River and the D&R canal.
This particular barge was equipped with gauge tacks and could transport 16 railroads carts up and down the river. American Bridge Company was formed in 1900 after JP Morgan & Company undertook a consolidation of the bridge construction industry in the United States. This was part of a more extensive merger of 27 companies that commanded 90 percent of the bridge-building market in the U.S.
In other news, the Trenton Masons were creating a new Masonic Temple on April 14th; and on and May 1st, a committee purchased five properties on West State Street. It cost the Masons $140,000, or roughly $3,144,575 in today’s money, to build the temple in the City of Trenton. In addition, it was a busy week for the Trenton Masons as they, according to the New York Times Newspaper, hosted the 131st annual meeting of the Masonic Grand Lodge of New Jersey on April 18, 1917.
The Rotary Club of Newark was following the lead of the Trenton Rotary Club to urge federal authorities to provide for the soldiers and sailors that were fighting during World War I. They scheduled an enlistment day for the following week throughout the state of New Jersey. Finally, a prophetic headline, which read “Bet is 10 to 1 that war lasts over July,” actually rang true as WWI continued until 1918, changing the face of modern warfare and ranking among the deadliest conflicts in world history.